Pandemic response plan near completion

The Bush administration is expected to release the final draft of the government's pandemic response plan, The Washington Post reports. The new plan clarifies the role that federal authorities would play in the event of an event like a bird flu outbreak. Probably in response to the uproar over the Katrina debacle, the latest version appears to take a more proactive approach than earlier drafts, which had emphasized the role state and local officials would play. The feds are much more visible this time around.

A few highlights: Officials want contingency plans in place to cope with a surge in demand for Internet access, as companies encourage their employees to work from home. Government scientists are debating "the wisdom" of distributing antiviral drugs to healthcare workers first on the basis of studies that suggest that supplies could be more effective if distributed to ill patients and their families first. In the event of a pandemic, the Veterans Administration is proposing a care model that many hospitals may consider, planning drive-through lanes where patients can be screened and given vaccinations.

- read this article from The Washington Post